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5 to 95!
“The Lights All Went Down in Massachusetts”
In the midst of the morning Bridge Watch on Friday, the TS Kennedy had begun to sail to the East of Long Island after passing by New Jersey in the night. Now inching ever closer towards Cape Cod, the ship made way to the West of George’s Bank. Smaller vessels could be observed fishing along the edge of the undersea continental shelf (places where depth suddenly changes from shallow to deep tend to be more ideal locations for ground fishing). Captain Campbell paid a visit to the Bridge to discuss our forward progress with Mate Kelly, who was the Mate on Watch at the time. At the start of this watch, 4/C Gamboa-Sanchez (FENG from Kansas) assumed the duties of Helmsman and worked to guide the vessel back to Massachusetts. Working with Quartermaster 3/C Panse was 4/C Graves (MTRA), who was learning how to fulfill the responsibilities of this station at the time. At 0815, a fluorescent-orange fishing buoy passed by as we made headway over Block Canyon.
Latitude: 39 Degrees 40.742’N
Longitude: 71 Degrees 00.685’W
Steering 065 Degrees PGC (Per Gyro Compass) & 075 PSC (Per Standard Compass) at 0755
Since Friday was the Second Examination Day of the cruise, the upperclassmen on deck watch had to depart from the Bride to take their tests at approximately 0900. Under the supervision of Mate Kelly, the 4th Class cadets of the watch team assumed the duties in the stead of the seniors who could not be present at the time. At 1000, the freshman cadets had to report to their assigned classrooms for their own examinations. Follow the written test, the 4th class cadets had to line up outside of the Seatorium at 1300 for their knot assessments.
At 1915, Division II Deck Watch Team C mustered together for the final time on the Quarterdeck of the ship. To keep the Kennedy in the designated Inbound Boston Harbor Shipping Lane alongside the arm of the Cape, a major course change had to be made by the helmsman at the beginning of the shift from bearing 076 degrees to 338 degrees (Northeast to Northwest). Plotting the course change in Navigation at the time was 3/C Butler (MTRA), whose chart was illuminated by the red-tinted lamps of this part of the Bridge. 1/C Malone (MTRA) was assigned to tracking the weather here during this watch cycle, which entails logging atmospheric pressure, temperature, inches of mercury, wind speed, and oceanic currents. A packet entitled NOAA Fisheries “Reducing Ship Strikes to North Atlantic Right Whales” could be spotted in the Navigation Room, as the Kennedy would be passing through several previously-designated whale zones this evening. North Atlantic Right Whales are a critically-endangered species that are vulnerable to surface strikes from ships in this region.
At 2045, 4/C O’Toole relieved 4/C Graves on the helm as the vessel passed to through the Great South Channel and to the East of Nantucket Sound. The dramatic contours of the seascape beneath the waves of the North Atlantic Ocean left behind by the glacial moraine that formed Cape Cod thousands of years ago could be seen on the charts. The cadets examined a textbook of Rotary Tidal Currents for the Cape Cod area to anticipate the currents that would impact the Kennedy during this watch. The beacons of operating fishing vessels could be seen off the bow during the conclusion of the watch. Afterwards, the ship would pass East of Phelps Bank, West of Georges Bank, and East of Nantucket along the track line.
The Field Day
On Saturday, February 22nd, all of the cadets aboard TS Kennedy that were not on watch were broken up into teams to clean the entirety of the ship before the scheduled arrival in Buzzards Bay tomorrow at 0930. Each department was delegated to cleaning the spaces of the ship, which would later be personally inspected by Captain Campbell (Master) and Captain Rozak at 1500. In the Engineering Training Space, 1/C Holly Brzykcy, 3/C Denoncourt, 4/C Benoitt, and 3/C Ben Temple worked alongside the other Marine Engineers here to sweep, wash, mop, buff, and scrub the entirety of the area. For the final Captain’s Inspection of the cadet berthings of this Sea Term, Captain Campbell and Captain Rozak approached and shook each of the hands of the cadets to congratulate them for completing the entirety of the voyage. Now at anchorage outside of the Eastern end of the Cape Cod Canal. On Sunday (Day #49), the TS Kennedy will be moored in Buzzards Bay and this year’s journey will finally meet its end.
Respite: A Review of Sea Term 2020
Within a matter of hours, the TS Kennedy will begin the final transit through the Cape Cod Canal into Buzzards Bay before being moored alongside the Academy to officially bring Sea Term 2020 to a close. Since entering the North Atlantic, all of the cadets have been eager to Massachusetts with the hopes of seeing their families and loved ones upon arrival. Together, we crosses roughly 10,000nm of ocean spanning two hemispheres, two oceans, and four countries. Over the course of the forty-nine-day odyssey , the cadets have braved the seas off of Cape Hatteras, conducted anchor drills in Puerto Rico, ventured though The Ditch of the Panama Canal to transit from the Atlantic into the Pacific Ocean, entered the dominion of King Neptune off the coast of Ecuador by sailing across the Equator, endured the trials of becoming Shellbacks, journeyed into the rain forests of Costa Rica, dove into the crystalline waters surrounding Curacao, explored the cities of Ybor and Tampa, and returned North to the frigid seas of the North Atlantic.
There was an nearly inexplicable camaraderie amongst the cadets that persisted throughout the entirety of the Sea Term. All showed an uncommon willingness, enthusiasm, and ability to teach that which they are learning each day. Each strives to increase the depth of their understanding of the subject matter they are working to master. In both the highs and lows of the cruise, the positive outlook of all of those onboard proved to be constant and unwavering. No matter what work needed to be accomplished everyday, the cadets were always up to the task. Friendships were made or strengthened by the common experience. When making way through the vast vacuum of the cosmic ocean on spaceship Kennedy, we confided in each other.
For the seniors that are preparing to take their Coast Guard licensing examinations, this will be the last of the three cruises that they will have embarked on as part of Massachusetts Maritime Academy. With most aspiring to work aboard vessel bound for the deep seas, these cruises will make up the first fraction of their careers as mariners. For the majority of fourth class cadets, this was a rare opportunity to experience life at sea for the first time in their lives no matter what their hopes and dreams might be.
Thank you to all who followed along each day of the journey and for reading about the daily experiences of the cadets. It was through their efforts and those of the crew and staff that Sea Term 2020 was able to become a reality. Thank you to all of the classes and students who took part, as none of this would have been possible without your support. This is the last goodbye!